Blount Press Row

The Name Game

Anthony honors injured teammate with jersey switch

By Tate Russell
Assistant Editor
Blount Press Row

Crossville – Eight times the Tornadoes crossed the goal line Friday night, using seven different rushers, on their way to a 56-7 win over Stone Memorial, but one scored was a little more special than rest.

Mustafa Anthony, pictured here in the Maryville game, switched jerseys with Alcoa teammate Nick Miller on Friday in a show of support. Photos by Brandon Shinn

The game was decided with Alcoa holding a 42-7 lead with 2:46 left in the first half. No. 31 took the ball around the left end on a jet sweep and glided across the goal line.  As the Tornadoes trotted off the field in celebration, the Panther’s public address announcer proclaimed: “Touchdown, Nick Miller.”

Miller, a junior receiver, has been sidelined all season after suffering an internal injury in a preseason 7-on-7 scrimmage and will not suit up this year for Alcoa. Senior Mustafa Anthony felt Miller deserved the opportunity to somehow get on the field and sidelined his customary No. 10 in favor of Miller’s 31.

“Last year when Ezekiel (Koko) was hurt, I wore twelve against Bledsoe County and it’s the same thing,” Anthony said. “I just want to show these guys they’re not forgotten. I’m still playing for them and that’s the same for Nick.  He hasn’t been able to play so I wanted to play for him tonight.”

Getting Miller on the field was not enough for Anthony; he was determined to get him in the end zone.

The opportunity almost came on a punt return Anthony fielded on the mid-field stripe and went up the right sideline. He outran his blocking and was cornered and run out of bounds by Brady Wattenbarger at the 5-yard line.

On the next play there was no doubt.

“I had to score. I just I had to get Nick a touchdown in the stat line,” Anthony said.

Jarod Crenshaw bulls his way through an Austin-East defender earlier this season. Check out the Tornado lineman trailing the play.

The Tornado ground attack was dominant on the night, tallying 301 yards between 12 different rushers.

“I think running the ball we were pretty outstanding,” Jaquez Tyson said. “The blocking was there every play and that opened up holes for the tailbacks.”

Koko went off tackle right from the 16-yard line and spun out of a tackle and into the end zone to start the scoring for the Tornadoes. The senior tailback led all rushers with 119 yards on only 4 carries.

On Alcoa’s second drive Peyton Wall found Rommie Lewis, who side stepped a defender and raced down the sideline for a 51-yard gain before being knocked out of bounds at the 3.  The Tornadoes brought in their jumbo package on the next play and Tyson followed fullbacks Jarod Crenshaw and Thomas Loy across the goal line to earn his first touchdown of the night.

The Tornadoes defense gave up no yards on the next series and forced a Panther punt that gave the Tornadoes a short field. Landon Turbyfill went under center for Alcoa and found Jordan Ferguson on an out for a 21-yard gain. Turbyfill then faked a handoff to Crenshaw and scampered for a 26-yard score on the next play.

Koko set up the fourth score when he took a draw and raced through the Stone Memorial defense for 66 yards. Fullback Alex Soule scored one play later from a single-back set to put the Tornadoes up, 27-0.

Brian Frye got the Panthers on the board when he returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards. The return outpaced Stone Memorial’s first half offensive production of 81 yards. The Panthers gained a total of 123 yards, compared to Alcoa’s 399, for the contest.

Jaquez Tyson, pictured here against Loudon, had a monster night statistically Friday.

The Frye score was the first the Tornadoes have given up to a district opponent this season. Alcoa has yet to allow an offensive score in district play.

Wall responded by showing he could run as well as any of the Tornadoes. The junior quarterback received the snap and went left initially before weaving his way through the defense, cutting back and forth a handful of times before earning a 37-yard score.

On the Tornadoes next series, they seemingly stalled at the Panthers 15-yard line on fourth down. Like his first score, Tyson, out of the goal-line formation, followed Loy, who cleared the way as Tyson rushed for his second touchdown on only his third rushing attempt.

Wall rushed for the two-point conversion to give Alcoa a 35 point lead that ensured a running clock in the second half.

Peyton Wall makes the give to Crenshaw.

“(Alcoa) coach (Gary) Rankin was on me pretty hard that play,” Tyson said. “He said, ‘I don’t care if they miss every single block you better get this first down (No.) 2.’ So I’m thinking I’m going to get this, and when I saw the hole open, I just took off and tried to get six.”

The Panther offense continued to struggle in the second half.  On their second play, a botched handoff resulted in a Michael Flack recovery it at the 23-yard line. Crenshaw needed just one try to score and extended the lead to 56-7 with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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